12 Most Worthless Web Wizards
You love it when this ol’ boy from the foothills of Appalachian Mountains gets to ranting. You sure are in for a treat today! Last week might have been all about that mushy “love” stuff, but this week I am feeling a little red for a different reason.
Let me tell you about experts. Let me tell you about how most of the people you are asking web marketing advice are giving your worthless clichés wrapped with faux confidence. There is an awful lot of swagger and bravado in the internet marketing industry. Keep in mind, this industry has really only been around, at most, for two decades. Many of the people displaying confidence in this business are just that, “confidence men.”
Here are just a small sampling of the worthless web wizards I have bumped-into in my short time in the internet marketing industry:
1. Information technology cast-off
That mid-fifties guy that used to work for AT&T, the guy with the garage full of abandoned business servers, is not a web marketing expert. He is not a marketing guy. He is not a web guy. He is a laid-off hardware guy, and unless you are asking a networking question, don’t ask him.
2. Graphic design student
You really thought you had a bargain with this one. I know you did. Many of the elements of good graphic design are true for good web design. That said, most graphic designers are terrible at general marketing. Great design execution is a result of a great designer being given accurate information and a realistic objective. More to the point, do you trust your taxes with a sophomore accounting student?
3. Code junkie
This is who you want to trust your first impression with? My local code junkie wears socks with sandals, and I bet your guy doesn’t exactly make a great entrance. I mean, the guy is nice and all, but you can’t really be serious about letting him make strategic decisions about how your business should be presented. Right?
4. Former or current corporate marketing manager
I have to dance carefully here, because I am currently a brand manager myself. However, I also spent over two years just executing web marketing, and I have a few “wins” in this arena. Corporate marketing managers are good at investing company money into company projects and proven marketing vendors. If you want the name of a great agency for a $100,000 marketing campaign, ask the marketing manager for P&G that lives down the street.
I kid you not; I actually have been the lucky recipient of “additional thoughts” from a client’s landscaper. From the client’s point-of-view, web design and landscaping are both “all about strong presentation.” I understand, but I can get a smidge impatient when given second-hand internet marketing tips from a guy with a website that has hot-pink text on a navy-blue background.
Ah family, you have one and I have one. We are living the American dream, aren’t we? If someone in your family matches the exact profile of your targeted demographic, we might, just might, ask them for an opinion on this new campaign. Probably not, but we can decide that later.
While we are on the subject of your family, please let me take a special moment to talk about how little of a s#*& I give about what your spouse’s favorite color is.
There are some really great marketing professors. Web marketing is a very new and rapidly changing field, however. Your local university professor might be able to get you going, but she is unlikely to be very up-to-date. The best way to learn and “know” web marketing is to do it every day, and most professors are not active marketers.
9. English expert
Great sales copy and efficient design rarely follow the strict rules of grammar and order. The gracious person that always helped you with your formal letters and college essays will be of little value to you in this arena. Of everyone on this list, I have the least patience when you involve this person. I know what proper grammar demands, and I know when bending it brings better results.
10. Bureaucrat bear
In these days of economic woe, I understand that you want to get some value for your tax dollars. Your local SBDC, SCORE, or chamber advisor is a great resource for many things. When it comes to web marketing, though, she is very likely to be giving clichéd advice (you need a blog!) or simply poor information (all web hosts are the same, just pick one). Often these government paid advisors consider web marketing a defensive “must do” rather than an offensive “grow the business” strategy. The only marketing advice I would take from a guy that has worked for the county for two decades is a referral to a professional.
11. Information salesman
The seminar, book, and CD guys just keep on coming! Here is all you need to know, if a guy makes more money giving speeches and selling “101 kits,” he can’t help you. He can sell you, but he can’t help you sell more. You are not his client; you are his customer. Run!
12. Other professional vendors
Accountants, lawyers, and auditors are all necessary. Most of these professionals, however, have a lower need for web marketing than you do. (Although that tide is changing, quickly!) For the time being, most established professionals became established before web marketing was really necessary, and many of these folks will give you terrible advice. The only honest answer any of these professionals can give you is “that is not my area of expertise, but be careful in who you choose to work with.”
These are a few of the worthless web wizards I have bumped into in my time in the industry. Who do you go to for web marketing advice? Have you found a professional to work with yet?
Featured image courtesy of Dunechaser via Creative Commons.